Bringing It All Together

Media and News Literacy, Digital Storytelling, and Technobiophilia are elements of the MOOC that are all related to each other. Media and News Literacy allows people to be citizen journalists. Digital Storytelling is a form of narrative that is told through digital mediums. Technobiophilia is our innate attraction to nature and other life-like processes and how we incorporate this into technology. In this weeks assignment, I was looking for a video or image that related to digital storytelling. I found one video of “The Most Dangerous Game” that was created for Educational purposes. In the video, there were lots of images of beautiful, secluded islands, animals, and other things that had to do with nature. I wanted to watch the video again because of all the pictures. The narrator also knew how to hook in the viewer because she showed a picture of a hammock on the beach and said “imagine yourself on a secluded island…” and I did. This shows how the narrator used technobiophilia in her digital story. I also viewed a digital story on YouTube that a man made in memory of 9/11. This was a story composed of images and footage taken by citizen journalists. Since we have so much technology, everyone can be a photographer, videographer, and journalist. In the MOOC talk on digital storytelling, Bryan and Nicola spoke briefly about there are so many ways a story can be told. I believe that stories can be told by anyone. This ties in the idea of citizen journalism. If a person were to take a photo of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. This photo can speak a thousand words and tell a story of the destruction and loss that people had because of the storm. In class, one of my teammates talked about how she made a video for her environmental science class just using images to show the destruction due to acid rain over time. She said that the class was silent and that everyone was hooked into the video. She knows it was because of the impact on the environment, but also thought people paid attention because it had to do with nature and it was a digital story. In high school before I graduated, many of the teachers were fired from their jobs due to budget cuts. My entire high school protested instead of going to school. There were hundreds of people and it made it on the news. My friends and I made a video of everyone protesting and posted it on Facebook. We saw our video on the news later that day and the news channel also posted it on their website. We used our technology to create a digital story about the events that took place that day and were journalists in our own way. In high school, we had an assembly about the Columbine Shootings. One of the survivors of the shooting came to our school and told us one of her friends stories who was killed that day. She made a video of pictures of her friend and videos of that day. She was keeping her friend’s memory alive through digital storytelling and by reporting her friend’s  life experiences to high schools around the country.




Technobiophilia is a term that is used to describe the prevalence of nature metaphors (ex. waterfalls, beaches, animals) on the internet. Sue Thomas, who is interested in the evolution of transliteracy, explores this phenomenon and develops a few reasons for our connection to nature through the internet. She believes that the root to technobiophilia is biophilia, which is “an innate attraction to lifelike processes”. I agree with this idea because I currently have a screensaver of a waterfall and rocks and I find it almost mesmerizing to look at. I find myself looking at it from time to time and I almost get lost in it. Another idea that Sue Thomas has is that biophilia has “restorative qualities”. Sometimes when I get really stressed out when I am doing something on the computer and I look at my screensaver, it is calms me down almost immediately. There is something so calming about nature that you do not even have to be in it, just looking at a picture of it can relax you. At the Keynote Conference with Sue Thomas, she speaks about the history of transliteracy and how there are so many ways to communicate. In class we have been talking about transliteracy in a digital aspect, but Ms. Thomas talks about how there is so much more to transliteracy than its relationship with the digital world. She even goes on to show examples of groups of people who do not teach reading and writing because we have technology that can do it for us and so many other ways to communicate. Technobiophilia ties in with transliteracy and digital storytelling because the photos of nature “speak to us” and they tell a story. The picture that we viewed in the first class tells a story. You can tell that it was in someone’s room, and they were doing some type of activity, and eating food, etc. In the MOOC talk on digital storytelling, Bryan Alexander mentioned that you can tell a story in a few words. Sue Thomas suggests that we don’t need language to tell a story and she gave examples of how pictures and art can tell a story. She talks about how computer gaming is a type of literacy and way to learn. In the post I submitted last week, I spoke about how some of my students learned about history through gaming. The students probably better retained this information because they were doing something they enjoyed while learning, instead of being lectured and having to perform on an exam.

On a side note-

One thing that I thought was interesting that Sue Thomas mentioned was how humans are so drawn to other forms of life and nature and how we realize that we are part of something that is so much larger than us. I think that this is the best way to explain why we constantly surround ourselves with nature (and maybe why people are so obsessed with finding life on other planets!).



Digital Storytelling and Metaliteracy

Since my groups project is on digital storytelling, I paid extra close attention to what Bryan and Nicola spoke about in regards to digital storytelling and metaliteracy. The topic I found most interesting in their discussion was about how storytelling, social media, and video games are all intertwined. Before this class I never made the connection that video games told stories digitally because I do not really play them.  However, I knew that people could use social media as a medium to share their stories through text, pictures, and videos. In the class that I TA for, a student was talking about how he learned much of what he knows about the history of the Renaissance because of one of the video games that he played. This statement kind of shocked me at first, but after listening to the MOOC talk, it made more sense to me. The media, now more than ever, portrays video games negatively, but they can actually be a great learning tool. In some video games, people can speak to others all around the world while they play. I know so many people who have actually made life long friendships because they shared one common interest and then found out that they shared so much more. This reminded me of two of Howard Rheingold’s reasons for joining Twitter, which is because it is “community- forming” and “a way to meet knew people”. All of the students in class are participating weekly in digital storytelling because of the creation and posting on our blogs. Even though we are discussing academic topics, we are telling personal stories about our lives to better expand upon these topics. Someone may stumble upon my posts one day and learn something academic and about me from reading them. I know that I have followed many of my friends blogs who are going through rough personal experiences. I have learned so much about breast cancer and about my friend and what kind of person she is just because of what she posts on her blog. Posting her daily battles on the internet is not only a stress reliever for her, but she is able to connect with others who are battling cancer and other survivors.


Media and News Literacy

Because of social media, everyone in the world is a journalist. People can spread the world about the media and news through Facebook, Twitter, photos, videos, blogs, etc. One of the benefits of this is that social media is “community-forming” according to Howard Rheingold in his article “Twitter Literacy”. People can now reach others all over the world by logging onto the internet. For example, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, many petitions were being circulated around Facebook and Twitter to take away gun rights or to preserve them. Petitions like this could change our laws. Another pro according to Rheingold is that it is “a platform for collaboration”. An example of this would be if there was a criminal at large that could not be identified due to poor picture quality. News teams or police departments could post this photo to social media websites and ask people if they know who the person is. There are also many cons due to the fact that everyone can be a “citizen journalist”. One con of “citizen journalists” is that they can decrease national security. Garrett Hardin in this article “Tragedy at the Commons” speaks about how our increase in military technology decreases our national security. Although he is talking about nuclear weapons, I believe that having the ability to post anything you want can affect the security of people in this country. For example, my husband is a marine and I am “friends” with many military websites on Facebook. Some of the military significant others post when their husband is coming home and what branch/company/troop they are in. This is a huge problem because everyone around the world can now know where our troops are moving. Another con that is discussed in the article “Scientific Meta-Literacy” is that people often misinterpret things and this information is spread to thousands of people. In the article, the author says that people do not know the difference between true and false scientific statements. Wikipedia is a website that is highly discredited because anyone can post on it. Many people who often search the web are looking for something that they do not know about and they could get the wrong information from a website like Wikipedia because they are not familiar with the topic.



What Metaliteracy Means to Me

I feel that in the world today, it is crucial to be metaliterate. Our world has completely transformed into a digital world and things are not the same as they were in the past. For example, we do not even have to go to the store to buy something we need we can just order it online. Because the world is different than how it used to be, I believe that the way that people think and solve problems is different. People are more intelligent because we are given so much access to information because of this digital world. I really like the graphic of the “metaliterate learner” because having access to information and having the opportunity to share your ideas with the world make a person so much more than just a learner. The metaliterate learner, based on the graphic, is also a participator, a publisher, a teacher, an author, and so much more. Becoming metaliterate will help me in school and beyond because I will be able to communicate with the rest of the world and be successful. In the future, I plan to be a nurse and when I shadowed health professionals in the hospital, I noticed that everything that was once written on paper was now recorded on a computer or iPad, when they were interacting with patients. Being metaliterate and using social networking helps me to keep in touch with friends and family that live far away. I hope that I learn new things about how to use technology and become more metaliterate by taking this class. I feel that know a lot about metaliteracy, but I am not an expert and I would like to be.